Budai Gourmet Festival 2012 – Foodies Welcome to Budapest!

Now the Budai Gourmet Festival is coming at the beginning of June again to make all foodies, locals and foreigners happy in Budapest.

Budai Gourmet Festival Budapest

Budai Gourmet Festival Budapest

The even better news is that you can watch all the Euro 2012 games right at the festival venue on huge outdoor screens, plus enjoy the gourmet foods and drinks, probably the best bites and sips Hungary can offer. There will be lots of jazzy – folksy concerts too to make you really feel relaxed.
The venue is one of our favorites in Budapest: Millenaris Park, a contemporary cultural complex, almost at the foot of the Castle Hill (a 15 min walk down from the Buda Castle District).

Please enjoy! June 8 – 10, an amazingly good event to put down in your calendar for your Budapest trip.
Oh, and almost forgot, you can take a look at the detailed program of the 2012 Budapest Gourmet Festival here

Budapest Wine Shopping: Somogyi Pincészet

Somogyi Pincészet offers Villányi wines in its contemporary style sample store. You can also buy Bag in Box packages of 3 or 5 liters for convenient transportation, or order customized labels (allow 3-4 days)! Wine delivery is free in Budapest.

Address: Báthory utca 25, Budapest V. ker.
Phone: 00-36-30-670-4500
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10 am to 6 pm, Sat 9 am to 1 pm

Prices: from 600 to 3500 HUF (approx. 20 wine varieties)
See the location of Somogyi Pincészet on the Budapest Shopping Map (check the Glass sign for wine shops & further wine buying details in Budapest) or read more about Hungarian wines on Budapest Blog.


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Budapest Wine Shopping: Hungarian House of Wines

The Hungarian House of Wines (Magyar Borok Háza) is in Budapest Castle District right next to the Matthias Church. The House not only has a nice and comprehensive exhibition summarizing the Hungarian wine culture, but they also offer wine tasting sessions in the dramatic maze-like cellar of the House.

The wines have been carefully picked from all the 22 wine-regions of Hungary, from Villany & Szekszard to Eger & Tokaj. There are about 700 different Hungarian wines & sparkling wines. The wine-exhibition, which is available in English, German, and French, gives a unique overview of Hungarian.


Wine Tasting at the Magyar Borok Háza

What kind of wines will you try?

You can try both typical Hungarian wines (which are considered Hungaricums), and the local varieties of international wines. The Hungarian wines on the tasting tour change month by month. Tasting Tokaj wines of the greatest value (prize-winning 5-6 puttonyos Tokaj aszú) is not part of the default wine tour, it comes at an extra price . It was the French king Louis XIV who said of Tokaji aszú “the wine of kings and the king of wines.”

How many wines will you taste?

You will get access to 50 different wines per tour, and it’s up to you which of them you try (just flushing your mouth as the experts do is a good idea to attempt to fight off the sneaky little goblets).

Where can you buy tickets?

On location. Tickets for the wine-tasting tour can be bought at the reception desk (opposite the main entrance). Tokens for the extra Tokaj 5 & 6 star aszú are also sold here.

What does the wine tasting session include?

  • participation in a 2-hour wine-tour
  • engraved tasting glass
  • small savory snacks with cheese: e.g. cheese scones (‘pogácsa’)
  • the map of the wine cellar

Address: Szentháromság tér 6. Budapest 1014
Phone: 00-36-1-212 10 31
Opening hours: 12pm – 8 pm
Prices: approx. 4,000 HUF (yes, basically only the price of a bottle of good wine)
Getting here:
1, from Deák tér, take bus number 16 (almost at Hotel Kempinski & Le Meridien)
2, take the red metro line till Moszkva tér, then get on the minibus, or just take a 10-15 minute walk up the hill.

Check the location of Hungarian House of Wines on the Budapest Shopping Map (check the Glass sign for wine shops & further wine buying details in Budapest) or read more about Hungarian wines on Budapest Blog.


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Anyway, the House of Hungarian Wines was founded in 1996 as a private enterprise. Wine growing in Hungary goes back to the Roman times. The best known wines are Bull’s Blood from Eger (Egri bikavér red wine) and the noble-rot-sweetened white wines from Tokaj (Tokaji aszú), but things are slowly changing and other wine regions (especially Villany) are getting their due international appreciation too in the world wine web.

Budapest Wine Shopping: Borkápolna at Hosok tere

Borkápolna Wine Shop (Wine Chapel) offers more than 1100 Hungarian wines and over 200 foreign wines. The accompanying wine cellar can take up about 110 people (book 1 week in advance), and serves Hungarian dishes for the wines. The vaulted cellar used to be a chapel during the communist era (between 1957-1991) as the original chapel called Regnum Marianum at the edge of the City Park was demolished by the Hungarian totalitarian communist leader Mátyás Rákosi: the neighboring long square was the ultimate marching square for communist festivities and Rakosi had the square ‘cleared.’ The tabernaculum is still in the wall of the cellar.

Borkapolna Wine Shop in Budapest at Hosok tere Wine Chapel

In the cellar, there’s a big fresco from 1973 by Korga (size 6×5 meter/ 323 sqft), which was made from golden mosaics: it shows St Stephen, the first Hungarian king offering his crown to Maria.
Address: Damjanich utca 52, Budapest 1071
Phone: 00-36-1-343-5258, or 00-36-30-941-2838
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 8pm, Sat 10 am – 3 pm
Getting here: The wine store is very conveniently located – about a 5-10 min walk – from Hősök tere where the Museum of Fine Arts or the Millennial Monument is.

Check the location of Borkápolna Budapest on the Budapest Shopping Map (check the Glass sign for wine shops & further wine buying details in Budapest) or read more about Hungarian wines on Budapest Blog.


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Borkapolna is operated by Wine for You.

Budapest Wine Shopping: Bock Bistro (Bock Bisztró)

Bock Bistro (Bock Bisztró) Wine Shop & Restaurant: József Bock is one of the most popular and respected Hungarian wine-maker. It’s his Wine Bistro at retail prices (you can get a full bottle of wine from 3600 HUF and up)! The Wine Bistro offers more than 200 wines with the motto: ‘Nobody’s gone bankrupt by pleasing customers.’

But Bock Bistro is more than a wine shop, big blackboards let you know about the nice dishes on offer with award-winning wines here (average main course at about 3500 HUF), for instance, slow-braised goose-leg, lamb knuckle, veal stew, roast piglet, grilled pike fillets, tapas, soups, desserts, etc. I think the Four cheeses with four fruit spreads sounds great for a short wine visit too (at about 1600 HUF), and there are other savory snacks like olives marinated in herbs, or ball pepper stuffed with boursen cheese. Besides wines, you can also have stronger spirits, including the Hungarian herb spirit Unicum, or the artistically famous Absinth. For alcohol-free options, there are home-made elderberry or raspberry drinks, among others.

Bock Bistro in Budapest featuring Bock Villány wines made by József Bock from Hungary

The style is French, the dishes and wines are Hungarian – book in advance, as the place, handpicked one of the best restaurants in Hungary, is often full.

Address: Erzsébet körút 43-49.
Phone: 00-36-1-321 0340
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12am – 11 & 12pm (closed on Sun and on Hungarian public holidays)

Check out the location of Bock Bistro (Bock Bisztró) on the Budapest Shopping Map: the Cocktail Glass signs on the map stand for wines & spirits in Budapest. By clicking on a symbol you can learn more about the shops (addresses, opening hours, etc.).


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But let’s see what Steel at the FoodPolice blog wrote on Bock Bistro (vegetarians please skip this horror, meat lovers enjoy this enthusiasm):

A short post to inform all of you out there that there is a contender to the throne of top Hungarian restaurant in the city. Strange as it may seem it comes in the form of a “French-style bistro”. It also comes signed by our famous winemaker Mr. Bock or Boxi as he is affectionately known by his friends. …. I know it’s about 40 degrees outside, but it’s cool in here, I also know that I’m supposed to be on a diet, I also know that you only eat székely káposzta [my note: like meat stewed in sour cabbage and topped with sour cream ] at midnight at weddings, but I can’t resist. I wash down another half a bottle of Bisztro Cuveé and wait for what comes. And it’s worth the wait for everybody! My cabbage has a delicious, rich consistency with juicy pieces of meat from a veal paprikas inside and a wiggly-jiggly boiled, cooked grandiose piece of knuckle placed on the side. 10 000 calories just by the looks of it. 20 minutes later it’s disappeared off my plate and the sauce of the cabbage wiped out completely with white bread. The others also rave about their lamb dishes.

Budapest Wine Shopping: Belvárosi Borszalon (Wine Salon)

Wine Salon or Belvárosi Borszalon sells the major Hungarian wine brands (Gere, Tiffán, Árvay, Thummerer, Figula, Gál, Légli, etc.) and has regular monthly wine tasting sessions (a few steps from the shop) for non-members about 6000 HUF. You need to book in advance either by phone or in email (borszalon at borszalon dot hu).

Address: Vármegye utca 7, Budapest 1052
Phone: 00-36-1-3179448
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 7 pm, Sat 10 am – 2 pm

Check out the location of Belvárosi Borszalon (Wine Salon) on the Budapest Shopping Map: the Cocktail Glass signs on the map stand for wines & spirits in Budapest. By clicking on a symbol you can learn more about the shops (addresses, opening hours, etc.).


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Budapest Wine Shopping: Borárium in Mammut Shopping Mall

Borárium Wine Shop, Budapest is in the Mammut Shopping Center (Mammut 1 building, on the first floor). Founded in 1999 in order to help wine friends learn about new wines quickly, organize wine tours, etc. The wine shop has its own Wine Club too with discount prices, newsletter, etc. You can buy wines at wine auctions (approx. 14-20,000 HUF)

Address: Lövőház utca 2-6, Hungary
Phone: 00-36-1-345-8098
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10.00 – 21.00 Sun 10.00 – 18.00.

Check out the location of Borárium Wine Shop on the Budapest Shopping Map: the Cocktail Glass signs on the map stand for wines & spirits in Budapest. By clicking on a symbol you can learn more about the shops (addresses, opening hours, etc.).


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Budapest Wine Shopping: Budapest Wine Society

Several Budapest Wine Society vendors were praised on traveler forums, so let’s have a closer look at the Society. It was founded in 1993 by a group of friends under the initiatives of Attila Tálos and Tom Howells.

Bortársaság Budapest Wine Society in HungaryThe Wine Society started off with a store at the Buda Castle Hill, and now they have a national chain, still growing. These days they have about 50 Hungarian and foreign wine growers’ 500 different wines on their shelves. As they put it:

“We are the exclusive dealer of the winemaker’s product as follows: Konyári János, Légli Ottó, Bussay László, Etyeki Kúria, Györgykovács Imre, Dúzsi Tamás, Heimann and sons, Günzer Zoltán, Mayer Márton, Németh cellar, St. Andrea, Tokaj-Oremus, Királyudvar and Szepsy István and accentuated dealer of Jásdi cellar’s, Bock József’s, Gere Attila’s, Szeremley Huba’s wines. Bortársaság is the exclusive importer of the french Champagne Veuve Clicquot house, the spanish Torres and Vega-Sicila wineries, and the italian brands of Antinori, Prunotto, Fonterutoli, Tormaresca, Corvo and Santa Margherita.”

Of course, the Society has its own rules, and membership card entitling members to all sorts of discounts, special opportunities, etc.

Here’s a map of some of their shops: check out the Cocktail Glass signs on the Budapest Shopping Map for wines & spirits in Budapest. By clicking on a symbol you can learn more about the shops (addresses, opening hours, etc.).


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Market Halls in Budapest: Fény Utcai Piac

Fény Utca Market Hall (Fény utcai Piac) is located just behind the Mammut Shopping Mall. It is not as elegantly rustic, and architecturally grand as the Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall) on the Pest side, but it is a good market with fresh fruits, vegetables, paprika, home-made dairy products and honey, bakery, herbs, fish, meat, poultry, and an amazingly good Lángos (fried dough)!

There are about 10,000 – 25,000 shoppers at the market per day.

Feny Market Hall Feny utcai Piac in Budapest

Address: Lövőház utca 12., Budapest Hungary
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 2pm, Sun (up to individual vendors)
Phone: 00-36-1-345-4101
Getting here:

  • Metro: red line, get off at Moszkva tér stop and walk 2 min towards Mammut Shopping Mall.
  • Trams/ Streetcars: number 4 or 6, Moszkva tér stop

Location of Budapest Fény Market on the Budapest Shopping Map:


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What else can you do at Fény utca Market Hall?

Once you decide to go to Fény Piac in Budapest, you can connect this program with various other programs:

Mammut Shopping Mall (from high end boutiques to international journals, electronics, perfumes, books & maps, batteries, sports equipment, restaurants, cafes, bars, movies, arcade games etc.) – right next to the market (basically one building). Children-friendly places: Child care (in Mammut 2 building), Libri Book store with a kid section, Movie, McDonald’s, etc.

Millenary Park (Millenáris Park): a huge complex offering ongoing entertainment, and educational programs, surrounded by a bigger park

Buda Palace in the Castle District: from the market it should take about 15 minutes or so to go up the hill to the Castle District on foot (you can take the Vár minibus from Moszkva tér – make sure you have a ticket or a Budapest pass)

Children’s Railway: it’s about 35 min to go up to the Children’s Railway on Széchenyi hegy (see detailed explanation about the mini train, the attractions, location etc. in the Children’s Railway Budapest article). By taking the train, you can also get to the highest point of Budapest where there is a nice Lookout tower (Elisabeth) on the hill ( János hegy). Good for taking panorama photos.

Market Halls in Budapest: Lehel Piac

Lehel téri Piac (Lehel Square Market Hall) is one of the most popular market halls in Budapest – more appreciated by locals than tourists though.

Locals are price sensitive and Lehel piac has usually better prices than the more expensive, beautiful, multicultural and touristy Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall). Yes, the market is located in a tasteless colorful building of various contradictory elements – but let’s put aside its architecture now.

If you should decide to venture into this truly rustic place, a good sociological study for the less wealthy Hungarian strata, you may wish to try some of the local foods offered here e.g. pickled cabbage, lángos, sausages, goulash, black pudding (hurka), salamis, paprika etc.

There is a take-away restaurant called Lehel íze étterem right in the market hall, which may not be impressive by its look (at all), but it serves great-great really home-made dishes at very cheap prices (best buy). Suggested meals: Csülök Pékné módra (roast pork), Húsleves (meat soup), Sült libacomb (roast goose leg), etc. Let your eyes decide.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 6am to 5 pm, Sat 6am-2pm
Getting here: blue line Metro, get off at Lehel tér stop
Address: Lehel tér, Budapest, 1134 Budapest
Phone: 00-36-1-340-2942

Check out the Location of Lehel Piac on the Budapest Shopping Map (the Yellow Basket sign indicates Market Halls in Budapest, click on the yellow basket sign to learn more about market halls):


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The Shopping map shows Budapest market halls, designer clothing shops, accessories, jewels, interior design objects, wine shops, palinka houses, pipe stores, electronics, gifts, souvenirs, etc. – all indicated with a unique symbol and more info on the stores.

Dining in Budapest: Lángos, the filling snack

Fresh Hungarian Lángos Fried Dough

Hungarian Snack Langos fried sour dough

Lángos (say lahn-gosh) is a sort of salty fried dough, usually served with sour cream (tejföl in Hungarian) and grated cheese. It was originally a by-product of making bread. There are all sorts of toppings, including cabbage, mushroom, beef, ham, etc.
Tips: put some garlic sauce, or if you are a garlic fan like we are, rub lots of garlic on top of the lángos, before adding the sour cream & cheese toppings, to make it even tastier. Don’t look at the calories, enjoy the little vice of your taste buds! Lángos is especially great as a beer snack, or an afternoon snack. But you will surely enjoy it without a beer too. :)

Warning: if your lángos is not fresh and is too oily, you are at the wrong place! Escape and try one of the following places below (Fény utca should be a good tip).

Price ranges: plain lángos (like the one to the left) is about 140-160 HUF (about half a euro or 0.77 USD) while turbo lángos with extra toppings is about twice as much.

Where can you buy good Lángos in Budapest?

There are not many super-pleasant places in Budapest where you can try lángos, especially not in restaurants and bars – don’t ask why, it would be an excellent idea! Instead, you can try the pleasant market halls in Budapest and some other places. And once you decide to try lángos, don’t start with the plain ones: choose something with loads of toppings. Here’s a photo of the classic Tejfölös-sajtos lángos (lángos with sour cream and grated cheese) made by Eszter:

Tejfölös-sajtos lángos (lángos with sour cream and grated cheese)

Here’s a short list to start your Lángos tour with (not in order of quality):

1, Vásárcsarnok, or Central Market Hall (higher prices , smaller sizes) is always inviting

2, Another great place to try lángos is the Market Hall in Fény utca: it is right behind Mammut Shopping Mall on the Buda side (the name is Fény utcai piac, say approx. ‘faign ootsai pee-ats’). Some say that lángos with cabbage here is a great choice, and lángos is less oily in Fény utcai Market, which is important.

3, A lot less touristy, truly rustic place is the Lehel tér piac, another big market hall very much frequented by locals, especially from the less rich strata (oftentimes cheaper than Vásárcsarnok). Beware, the building of Lehel Market Hall is really tasteless, some say it was the revenge of the architect on Budapest. But the main point is lángos, and you will find it there too.

4, If you happen to be in Budapest during the Christmas holidays, try lángos on Vörösmarty tér: usually there is a beautiful folk market on Vörösmarty square, and also great food and drinks, e.g. lángos and mulled wine.

(from now on, I will mainly rely on a great Lángos test, made by Eszter Fűszeres in November 2007 – in Hungarian)

5, Garay utca piac – temporarily moved to Rottenbiller utca (according to locals, the best version is Hungarian lángos with the Greek tzatziki, but many bought Lángos with ham and ketchup).

6, 58-as Lángoskert (Lángos Garden Buffet): great lángos, spacious place for up to 40 people. Only open from spring to autumn and is operating in an old streetcar named desire Lángos.

See the Lángos Locations on the Budapest Tourist Map (click on the yellow basket signs to see detailed info on the food markets):


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Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest or the Best Cafes in Budapest.

Did you know?

Most Hungarians associate Lángos with holidays spent at Lake Balaton (the ‘Hungarian sea’ as we call the great Hungarian fresh-water lake). It is great between two dips, and you will surely find lángos makers in almost every town at Lake Balaton, too.

I think, most people in Hungary think of Lángos as a savoury snack (salty not sweet) and Fánk (another deep fried dough or doughnut) is what is eaten sweet. But some people mention eating lángos sweet with sugar, jam, cinnamon, etc. Apparently, Hungarians living in Transylvania eat lángos with fruit spread, sweet.

Lángos (or lángus), is also sold in other neighboring countries, such as Austria, Romania, Serbia, etc.